Stories about Second world war

The phoenix of history: Nothing captured my heart like Berlin did

From the moment I stepped out of the Berlin Tegel airport on to the city that possesses one of the richest histories in the world, the air around me transformed. Compared to the noisy Karachi streets where each nook and corner is densely populated, streets in Berlin seem fairly less crowded. The very air reeked of its past, almost as if it is haunted by the disputes once started on this very land. When I entered my apartment in West Berlin, I was unaware of the significance of my position, its only days later when I realised that the East-West ...

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Will China’s military overhaul be able to compete with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division?

The size of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), its past  performance and the Republic’s economic super power status have periodically got Washington’s knickers in a twist, much to the glee of the United States’ military-industrial sector. The South China Morning Post’s report of a prospective overhaul of China’s land troops to acquire a rapidly deployable force on the lines of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (101st) promises as much. The plan also involuntarily activates latent Sinophobia – even though the ambitious project is obviously a very long haul – with success hanging on China’s crucial choice between conscription and professionalism. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Nobel laureate ...

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Building the Calais wall will only break bonds

The Franco-British Wall of Calais is set to overshadow the Gate of Calais immortalised in William Hogarth’s 1748 painting, the components of which can be seen in Calais today. The political leadership of the port City of Calais in northern France (population 126,395) believes that a wall extending a fence will effectually control the estimated 7000 plus refugee and migrant overflow concentrated in ‘The Jungle’ on its outskirts. Calais offers migrants a jumping off point in pursuit of the Great British dream, just a short hop of 33.1 km by tunnel or ferry across the English Channel. Her Majesty’s Home Office has decided to finance ...

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Our blood runs thick, our blood runs green

September 6th is celebrated as Defence Day in Pakistan. It was on this day that India launched an attack on Pakistan back in 1965. Only a couple of months after launching Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir, Indian forces crossed the border in retaliation, pushing back Pakistani Rangers and advancing towards Lahore from two sides. They had driven up to Batapur from the Wagha check post during the night of September 5th and 6th before they were pushed back. While this was happening, the Indian army chief was boasting about sipping on coffee at the Lahore Gymkhana club. Despite it being a surprise attack, it was held back and fought ...

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China’s WW2 parade has attached more shame onto humanity’s shoulders

Wars may be designed to destroy nations; however, they play a critical role in building them as well. Is that what China has attempted to do today? China’s commemoration of the Second World War took place today in the city of Beijing. India too, is planning a festival to memorialise the 1965 war with Pakistan. 2015 seems to be the year we’re all celebrating war. China put on a grand display of its military strength and laid bare its hegemonic ambitions in the Asian region. The Chinese administration has asserted that the intention of the parade is to remind the world of the sacrifices the Chinese people ...

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Where is the beauty of Islam?

Children’s author, Beverly Cleary, worked as a librarian for the US Army during the Second World War. In her autobiography, ‘My Own Two Feet,’ she wrote of an incident which made an impression on her during that time period: “An army chaplain requested a book on flower arranging, a subject I had not expected to interest the army. I bought the most beautiful book I could find, and when I handed it to him, he remarked, ‘We teach little children to worship in beauty and then send them to Sunday school in church basements’.” Aside from agreeing with the chaplain, the incident resonated ...

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Did ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ deserve the Man Booker Prize?

Richard Flanagan’s scintillating novel and winner of the coveted Man Booker Prize this year, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is a classic love-war saga. Like any other brilliant work of war fiction, it manages to pull at every string in your heart and leaves no stone unturned doing so. However, camouflaged under the profound, morbid and harrowing depictions of war, lies a love story that is both ambiguous and lackadaisical. While trying to merge two extremely impactful themes of love and war, Flanagan makes the cut, very scarcely, to do justice to only one of them. Hence, although Flanagan’s novel is very ...

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“Altaf Hussain has been arrested – get home, now!”

1:20 pm, Tuesday, June 3rd It was a regular weekday with the familiar hustle of an office facing tight deadlines. Some people had finished their lunch and were chatting over tea about the upcoming football world cup. Others were just about to tuck into their food and planning out the post lunch work plan. A colleague broke the news, the possibility of which had been discussed in hushed tones many-a-times. Breathlessly she spilled the words: “Altaf Hussain (Chief of the MQM Party) has been arrested!” All was left aside and everyone started checking social media for updates. Some turned on the news ...

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The Taliban must not be painted as violent savages

“You have no option but to take direct military action.” This was the advice given by John F Kennedy’s top military aide at the height of the Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The future of the world hinged on Kennedy’s acquiescence. After the Second World War, global politics were dominated by the political, ideological and power clash between the Americans and the Soviets. Communists were painted as violent savages to the Americans who were made to fear communism. However, the idea of communism gained ground in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union grew as a global superpower. Following ...

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They call her Berlin

Berlin is like that friend, who as soon as you meet, shares her deepest, darkest secrets without any shame. She’s been betrayed more harshly than Jesus, has seen more blood than a haematologist and has had her fair share of wars waged on her soil. Anyone in her position would just clam up and hide their scars; not wear them on their sleeves all the time. Yet, Berlin showcases her biggest mistakes for the entire world. Just when you think that a broken person like her has probably forgotten how to really live – she takes you to a party so ...

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